Permaculture is an ethics- and ecology-based system for designing sustainable human food and habitation systems. First articulated by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, permaculture espouses three foundational principles: Care for the planet, care for the people, and share the surplus. How to do that is further explained with recommendations such as, “Observe and interact.” (After all, nature has provided working models all around us.) “Produce no waste.” (Nature doesn’t. One species’ waste is another’s resource.) “Integrate rather than segregate.” (By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other.)
Our interview this month is with Matthew Stephens, a passionate permaculture designer who advocates tirelessly on behalf of the planet through the half-dozen Facebook pages he manages. Stephens has helped to establish permaculture gardens and demonstration centers in places as far-flung as Chicago and Malaysia. He champions a permaculture approach not just to food, but to housing, transportation, energy generation, water delivery, economic, and education systems, as well.
In essays and memoirs, we offer Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski’s comprehensive “Carbon sequestration proposal for the planet,” as well as his heartfelt, “Resist the slaughter of the Earth.” Brett Pritchard, a permaculture design consultant in Australia, shares his contribution to low-cost, low-maintenance, low-water permaculture gardening in —the BioWicked Grow Box. Diagnosed with COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, chronic fatigue, and heart disease, Pritchard hopes his Grow Boxes will become his lasting legacy to future generations.
Also in essays, we share Laine MacTague’s “Urban ecology almanac” and Lindsay Allen’s “Agroforestry and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Our short stories this month are a collection of three humorous pieces by Andrew Clinard, a longtime resident of QuailSprings Permaculture, in California. Clinard writes amusingly about the quirks of living in a cash-poor, experience-rich, off-grid community. We also offer evocative poetry by T J Barnum, Helen Burke, Elaine Reardon, and Laura Grace Weldon; review five movies you won’t want to miss (including embedded trailers), and of course share thought-provoking quotes in MOON Shine.
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Photo credit: Annie Spratt for Unsplash.com